In order to understand the ‘natural way with endometriosis’ it is important to know the meaning of the term”Wholistic Medicine”. This term is used to describe the approach a Naturopath takes to the health problems of an individual person. We believe that only if one is untroubled in the areas of emotional health, physical health and environmental health, and there is a balance between these areas, can we then say this person is well. Our health and wellbeing are affected by the food we eat, the things we drink, the thoughts we think, the way we relate to those around us, and where we work and live. We cannot separate any one area and deal with that alone. To do so would be symptomatic only.
If we imagine a cake with one wedge cut out of it, that would represent symptomatic medicine. This way of treating a person looks only at their symptoms, and tries to find a way to suppress those symptoms without taking into consideration any other problems a person has. Symptomatic medicine does not consider that any body system has to be treated in conjunction with the whole, it believes you deal only with the problem areas.
If we imagine the whole cake, then we have an idea of Wholistic Medicine, that every body system, including the intellect and emotions, are exquisitely inter-related and if one is affected, all are in some way affected, off balance. The role of Wholistic Medicine is to balance, to re-establish harmony.
What is Endometriosis
There are a number of theories as to the cause of Endometriosis. One of them is retrograde menstruation. The idea the endometrial cells pass through the fallopian tubes during menstruation and colonise parts of the peritoneal cavity. where they attach, grow and function. Common sites for the cells are in or on the tubes, ovaries, pouch of Douglas, rectosigmoid. These cells behave like their identical twin, the endometrial lining of the uterus in that they swell and bleed at menstruation.
Another theory is that we are born with the cells in place and something triggers them to behave inappropriately. It is estimated that most women complain of period pain for six years before a diagnosis of endometriosis is made. While you can tell a lot from the symptom picture the only truly accurate diagnosis is by laparoscopy.
The symptoms of endometriosis vary from woman to woman. Some have severe pain before and after their period commences. Some have pain on intercourse. In some cases the stabbing pain comes on at ovulation and lasts well in to menstruation. Some seem to have pain most of the time. Heavy bleeding is a problem many women have to contend with, some to the extent of being afraid to leave home. Bowel problems are quite common as well, including the painful passing of stools and constipation or diarrhoea. One of the signs of endometriosis is the period beginning with blood that looks like coffee grounds, this can last for a few days before the blood turns bright red, and the period can end with brown blood. Another sign can be a smelly brown discharge from the navel.
The medical treatment for Endometriosis is to put the patient on the pill. Because the pill prevents ovulation the cells do not swell and bleed and therefore the pain is not experienced. Well that is the theory anyway. In many cases even though on the pill the sufferer still feels quite a lot of pain. There are other medical drugs used, some with the outcome of turning off the hormonal flow at the level of the pituitary with the result the patient experiences menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes. Whatever medical treatment is used there is usually a downside.
The Natural treatment for Endometriosis is to use herbal medicine and diet to normalize the hormonal function and to stop pain and other uncomfortable symptoms. The herbal medicine prescribed would be an individual mix made up to deal specifically with the patient’s symptoms. Something to normalize hormones, something for pain, maybe something for heavy bleeding, and always a herb to help the liver to function better.
The diet would be based on the removing as many zenoestrogens as possible from the food intake and also from the lifestyle. A zenoestrogen is a substance with the ability to act like an estrogen in the body. Examples of zenoestrogens are pesticides, dioxins, growth stimulators in chicken. The patient would be asked to eat only certified organic chicken and to wash and peel all fruit and vegetables before eating. Tampons are not to be used as they contain dioxins.
I have found that many women with endometriosis eat a lot of diary products, particularly cheese. Cutting out all diary is important. Cheese is a mould, contains yeast and is a saturated fat and must not be eaten. If there is a high intake of sugar in the diet that needs to be taken out as well. Alcohol is included in sugar intake. If a lot of wine and beer is drunk then that needs to be given up. I know that sounds like the kiss of death to the social life so the good news is you can have vodka. The emotions play a big part in endometriosis. Many women are upset and frightened. Upset about their future, particularly in regard to their fertility. Many are told ‘endometriosis can cause infertility’ and then believe they are infertile. The question ‘Will I be able to have children?’ is a very important one. Frightened of the future, ‘Will I have to live with this pain forever?’ Frightened of the side effects of the drugs given by the medical profession. There is a beautiful, safe and effective system of help to be found in the Bach Flower Remedies, these work on various different emotions such as fear, anger, anxiety, worry and are always incorporated in to my treatment for Endometriosis.
In summary I would like all sufferers of Endometriosis to know there is another way to treat your condition, a natural way that will bring about relief of symptoms and a return to normal functioning of your reproductive system. The treatment with herbal medicine takes a minimum of three months and the dietary changes need to be in place forever, but this is a small price to pay for a pain free life. It is always best to seek professional advice rather than attempt to treat yourself for something as complex as endometriosis.